I didn’t even like birds.
But there was something about this particular bird and it’s very specific (not to mention succinct) message that got my attention.
So I began to wonder what it meant. What it was “time” for. For ten years, I bought a lot of books, went to more than a few weekend retreats, learned some chants, studied with a wizard, an alchemist, and a clairvoyant healer. I got to know spirits and energies I’d never heard of, or if I had, I thought were only the stuff of nonsensical fantasy. I’m talking dragons and moons, serpents and ghosts, my dead grandmother…and Raven.
The tariff for all of this was the loss of everything I did not think I could stand to lose: clients, money, status, friends, my marriage and, eventually, my mind.
The “boon”, as Joseph Campbell would say, was the gift of remembering what all of us knew as children and some of us only remember right before we die: That none of this is real. That it’s all just one long dance of our perception. A “blink and you’ll miss it” bridge between the first cry of birth and the last gasp of death.
I think Thomas Merton was onto something when he wrote that “you can never understand it; you can only experience it.” Which is what I try to do, practicing a sadhana of awareness, which means simply that I try to be present with and grateful for the wonder that is all around and within.
Showing up for it, taking it in, and, from time to time, sharing the experience.